Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Recovery

Find Family and Friends: Government Sources
Search Across the Web for Missing Persons
Yahoo offers a search tool that allows you to search across multiple Katrina missing person lists. Due to volume, you may need to try your search several times.
Missing and Found Children
U.S. Department of Justice is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. View photos of children looking for their parents and of missing children. If you have any information, call their hot line: 1-888-544-5475.
Patients Evacuated from Louisiana Hospitals
The Louisiana Hospital Association provides access to an online database to help locate a patient who was evacuated from a hospital in New Orleans or surrounding areas.
Louisiana Nursing Home Evacuee Information
The Louisiana Nursing Home Association provides search for nursing home residents. Includes names of evacuated residents, the nursing facilities they came from, the host facility where they are now and its phone number. Or you can call 225-927-5642.
East Baton Rouge Parish Shelter Search and Hotline
Search online to find residents in East Baton Rouge Parish Red Cross Shelters. Or, call 24-hour hot-line at (225) 389-2176. Please give the operator the name of the missing person, their address and date of birth.
Find Family Call Center
This toll-free hot line has been established to provide information and support for people, in all states affected by Katrina, who are seeking lost family: 1-866-326-9393 (State of Louisiana).
Search and Rescue, U.S. Coast Guard
Requests for rescues of missing or stranded persons will be entered into the system, viewed by command center and prioritized as received.
Federal Employees Impacted by Katrina
1-800-307-8298: Toll-free Helpline for current and retired federal employees and annuitants, who have been impacted by Hurricane Katrina. (Office of Personnel Management, OPM)
Military Families One Source
Toll-free 1-800-342-9647. For military members or families in need of counseling services or Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Service Centers. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. English only.

Find Family and Friends: Non-Government Sources
Search Across the Web for Missing Persons
Yahoo offers a search tool that allows you to search across multiple Katrina missing person lists. Due to volume, you may need to try your search several times.
Red Cross's Locate People Lists
For those who do not have Internet access to, please call 1 877-LOVED-1S, a toll-free hot line for finding family members.
Find Your New Orleans Employer or Employee
The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Baton Rouge offers site to connect employers and employees.
National Next of Kin Registry
Nonprofit organization: Register people missing in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
Salvation Army's Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Activated
Send an online request to locate missing family and friends. If you can't connect to the site immediately, please try again.
Blog links for Katrina survivors and their families.
"I'm Okay" Board
New Orleans channel 4WWL-TV posts messages for family members.
Persons Missing in New Orleans Contact Site
Electronic bulletin board for New Orleans residents.
WDSU, New Orleans, LA
More messages for and from missing people.
Gulf Coast Survivor-Connector Database
List the person or family you want to find.
Safe List of Family Members
CNN's list of people reported safe and their current location.
Missing Persons Board
NowPublic offers a list.
Hurricane Katrina Survivor Registry
This non-government resource from Georgia Tech claims to have more than 13,000 names to search.
South Mississippi's Sun Herald Message Board
For families of victims and housing offers.

How To Get Help
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Your primary source for disaster assistance resources.
Key State Government Agencies in the Region
State emergency management and public health agencies in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.
Replacing Your Vital Documents
Learn how to replace your important government documents

Shelter and Housing for Victims
Red Cross Local Chapter Finder
Families who take in evacuees should contact their local Red Cross chapter so the evacuees are accounted for and can get assistance. Use this link to find your local chapter.

Shelter and Housing for Survivors
Red Cross Local Chapter Finder
Families who take in survivors should contact their local Red Cross chapter, so the survivors are accounted for and can get assistance. Use this link to find your local chapter.
Housing and Shelter Update from FEMA
News on evacuees, active duty troops in the area, search, rescue, security and more.
Available Rental Properties
List a rental property or find a rental property. Brings together immediately available rental properties to provide hurricane survivors with safety and peace of mind while their home is repaired or a new home constructed. Partnership among realtors, technology companies, Disaster Housing Resources, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.
Emergency Katrina Housing Programs, HUD
Housing Hot line: 1-866-641-8102. Toll-free number for Section 8 voucher holders and public housing residents: 1-800-955-2232.
Emergency Katrina Housing Programs, USDA
Housing Hot line: 1-800-414-1226. Toll-free number for USDA housing loan borrowers, USDA rental housing residents and other displaced persons.
Department of Defense Safe Havens for DOD Civilians and their Dependents, and Dependents of Military Members
Housing and support specifically for Department of Defense Civilians and their dependents, and dependents of Military Members.

Donate and Volunteer
How the Public Can Help: USA Freedom Corps
Donations of money is the most immediate need. Call for medical, police and fire volunteers. How to donate goods and services.

Health and Safety
Health and Safety in Hurricane Recovery
Prevent illness and injury, keep food and water safe, clean up safely, mental health resources...

What Government is Doing
Department of Homeland Security and Government Response
White House Focus on Hurricane Relief
Key State Government Agencies in the Region


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

News You Could Use - Credit Report

Hi, Everyone!

I found this tidit while reading The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke by Suze Orman. (It is a good read for those thirty and under.) If you live in the following states, you are entitled to one free report each year by the three credit bureaus, as of September 1, 2005:

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and all U.S. territories. (There is no official word if DNC Chairman Howard Dean was asked to do a PSA for this. "YEAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

If, by chance, your state was not listed, there is no need to panic. By the end of this year, everybody will be entitled to this privelage. You can find out one of two ways. You can either dial toll-free 1(877)332-8228, or by logging online at If you find any errors, please proceed with the particular credit bureau.

Also, to find out your FICO score, you can go to

Knowledge is power, take advantage of it when you can.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bush Nominates Roberts for Chief Justice

Bush Nominates Roberts for Chief Justice

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
7 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Monday nominated John Roberts to succeed William H. Rehnquist as chief justice and called on the Senate to confirm him before the Supreme Court opens its fall term on Oct. 3. Just 50 years old, Roberts could shape the court for decades to come.

The swift move would promote to the Supreme Court's top job a newcomer who currently is being considered as one of eight associate justices. It would also ensure a full 9-member court, because retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has said she will remain on the job until her replacement is confirmed.

"I am honored and humbled by the confidence the president has shown in me," Roberts said, standing alongside Bush in the Oval Office. "I am very much aware that if I am confirmed I would succeed a man I deeply respect and admire, a man who has been very kind to me for 25 years."

"He's a man of integrity and fairness and throughout his life he's inspired the respect and loyalty of others," Bush said. "John Roberts built a record of excellence and achievement and reputation for goodwill and decency toward others in his extraordinary career."

The selection of Roberts helps Bush avoid new political problems when he already is under fire for the government's sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina and his approval ratings in the polls are at the lowest point of his presidency.

A brief delay in confirmation hearings for Roberts, which had been set to start Tuesday, was likely in light of his new nomination and Rehnquist's funeral this week.

But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he still expects Roberts to be confirmed before the new court session begins on October 3.

"The president has made an excellent choice," Frist said Monday. "Mr. Roberts is one of the most well qualified candidates to come before the Senate. He will be an excellent chief."

Democrats said Roberts will now be held to a higher standard, although they had found little in his record to suggest they would thwart his nomination as associate justice.

"Now that the president has said he will nominate Judge Roberts as chief justice, the stakes are higher and the Senate's advice and consent responsibility is even more important," Democratic leader Harry Reid said Monday in a statement. "The Senate must be vigilant."

The president met with Roberts in the private residence of the White House for about 35 to 40 minutes on Sunday evening, then officially offered him the job at 7:15 a.m. Monday when Roberts arrived at the Oval Office.

"This had been something that had been in the president's thinking for some time — in case the chief justice retired or that there otherwise was a vacancy," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "The president when he met with him, knew he was a natural born leader. The president knew Judge Roberts had the qualities to lead the court."

McClellan said the White House is confident that Roberts can be confirmed by the Senate by Oct. 3. Bush still has to pick a successor for Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, although she said at the time of her retirement announcement that she would remain until a replacement were seated.

Getting a new chief justice of Bush's choosing in place quickly also avoids the scenario of having liberal Justice John Paul Stevens making the decisions about whom to assign cases to and making other decisions that could influence court deliberations. As the court's senior justice, Stevens would take over Rehnquist's administrative duties until a new chief is confirmed.

"The passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist leaves the center chair empty, just four weeks left before the Supreme Court reconvenes," Bush said. "It's in the interest of the court and the country to have a chief justice on the bench on the first full day of the fall term."

Bush said Roberts has been closely scrutinized since he was nominated as an associate justice and that Americans "like what they see. He is a gentleman. He is a man of integrity and fairness." He said Roberts has unusual experience, having argued 39 cases as a lawyer before the Supreme Court. Bush also said Roberts was a natural leader.

The move was engineered to have all nine seats on the high court filled when the court opens its fall term.

The White House is not opposed to a delay in Roberts' confirmation hearings as long as senators vote on the confirmation before the court session begins on the first Monday of October.

"We believe they have enough time to move forward to meet that goal because of all the work that's already been done and Justice O'Connor had previously indicated that she was going to stay on the court until her position was filled," McClellan said.

Bush already had nominated Roberts to take O'Connor's place. It requires just a little paper shuffling to change the nomination for Rehnquist's seat.

White House chief of staff Andy Card informed members of Congress, calling Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.; Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), D-Vt., the ranking Democrat on the committee; and House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

The White House counsel's office notified the Supreme Court through Justice John Paul Stevens, the senior-most member of the court.

Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., a member of the judiciary panel, said the nomination "raises the stakes" in making sure that the American people and the Senate knows Roberts' views.

"Judge Roberts has a clear obligation to make his views known fully and completely at the hearings and we look forward to them," Schumer said.

Liberal groups have expressed opposition to Roberts because of his conservative writings as an attorney for the Reagan administration and his rulings as an appeals court judge. However, it does not appear that his opponents have enough votes to block Roberts' confirmation.

That alone might have been impetus for Bush to rename Roberts for chief justice. Bush, with low standing in the polls, might not have the political capital he would need to win a Senate battle over a conservative ideologue who would draw intense opposition.

Rehnquist, 80 at his death, served on the Supreme Court for 33 years and was its leader for 19 years.

Rehnquist, a World War II Army Air Corps veteran, will be buried in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery alongside his wife, who died in 1991, following a funeral that morning at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington. He died Saturday at his home.

His body will lie in repose in the marble Great Hall of the Supreme Court building on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning with the public invited to pay its respects.

Five members of the court have lain in repose there: Chief Justices Earl Warren and Warren Burger, and Justices Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan and Harry Blackmun.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Newt: The GOP's Standard-Bearer

This week, The Des Moines Register's David Yepsen had this to say about Newt's trip to Iowa:

Newt: The GOP's Standard-Bearer
Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is doing two things that often lead to success for presidential candidates in Iowa's precinct caucuses.

First, the Georgia Republican is spending lots of time in the state. Don't be surprised if you see him in your county soon. Second, he has a strong conservative message.

You may agree or disagree with the ideas he offers, but there's no denying he's been doing more and saying more in Iowa - where the 2008 GOP presidential campaign will begin - than any other potential GOP candidate. (That includes the obligatory photo-op visit to the Iowa State Fair.)

Gingrich told a Rotary Club breakfast in Des Moines last week that the country needs to do things differently if it hopes to have a safe, prosperous future. "Real change requires real change," he said.

There "is an extraordinary danger of terrorists and rogue dictatorships literally ending our way of life" by exploding a biological nuclear device, and the United States lacks the intelligence networks to stop it." In the London bombings, "we didn't know they were coming. . . . We have no effective penetration of the enemy."

Part of national security is control of the nation's borders and coasts, he said, but "real control is going to cost you money."

"We're in a long war against the irreconcilable wing of Islam," he said. "I don't think we've come to grips with how serious and how deep this is going to be. . . . We can probably win in the long run, but the long run is 50 to 70 years." He said the nation can combat illegal immigration by using technology, such as iris scanning, to keep track of people entering the country.

He also said immigrants must become Americans. "There is an important question about America remaining American. America is a cultural society. We don't have a DNA that says you are American. It's history, rule of law, elections, free speech, participating. But for the last 30 or 40 years, we have lost the nerve to teach it," he said. To become a U.S. citizen, "you should have to pass a test in American history, and it should be in English."

Gingrich also said China and India form a unique competitive threat to U.S. prosperity. For the first time since the 1840s, the United States will face competitors with markets as large as ours. To match them, the nation must follow high-growth policies such as lower taxes, fewer regulations, less litigation and more science and math education.

In the future, "China will graduate eight times as many engineers as we do. We'll graduate more lawyers," he said. One way to correct that is to pay students in poor neighborhoods to take math and science classes, which could be taught by people with math and science backgrounds who may not have teaching certificates.

Poor students are sent all sorts of positive messages about football, basketball, rock stars and drug dealing, he said. It's time they are sent positive messages about the value of math and science as a path to a better life.

In addition, he called for a ban on advertising by lawyers, a reversal of court rulings that are scrubbing God from public life and reforms to Social Security and Medicare so they can finance longer lives.

All that came before he caught his breath and went over to Des Moines University to talk about reforming health care. He said computer technology can do a better job of keeping track of patient records, reducing costs and preventing medical errors.

While the nation's problems are daunting, "we can fix it. We've been expanding freedom, expanding prosperity and happiness for 400 years. There's no reason it has to stop, but it does require change."

It's far too early to be predicting winners and losers in the 2008 Republican caucuses. But this is the sort of stuff that Republican caucus-goers like to hear, and Gingrich is spending a lot of time selling it in Iowa. He's setting a high standard for what other GOP candidates need to be talking about - and doing - if they want to win here.

Fair visits and corn dogs are fine. But issue-oriented activists in both parties also look for a different kind of red meat in the presidential candidates they back.

Bill's Comment: To me, it sounds like the former Speaker of the House is pushing for a grassroots, back-to-basics forum, which I am all for.

Bush Says He'll Fill Vacancies Promptly

Bush Says He'll Fill Vacancies Promptly

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
12 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Sunday called the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist a man of "character and dedication" and said he would work swiftly to fill the two openings at the Supreme Court.

"It will serve the best interest of the nation to fill those vacancies promptly," Bush said in brief remarks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

Rehnquist died at home late Saturday after a long battle with cancer, an event that gives Bush the rare opportunity to name a second justice to the Supreme Court. In July, Bush nominated federal appellate judge John Roberts to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

"I will choose in a timely manner a highly qualified nominee to succeed Chief Justice Rehnquist," Bush said. "As we look to the future of the Supreme Court, citizens of this nation can also look with pride and appreciation on the career of our late chief justice."

The last time there were two vacancies on the court was in 1971, when Rehnquist himself was appointed to one of the openings created by the retirements of justices Hugo Black and John Marshall Harlan.

Roberts' confirmation hearing in the Senate is scheduled to begin Tuesday, although there is some talk that the hearing could be postponed because of memorial services for the chief justice.

Senators now face a tough choice: forge forward with Roberts' confirmation hearings during an official state mourning period, or delay the hearings out of respect and risk having the high court short two members when the new session starts Oct. 3.

Sen. John Cornyn (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Sunday that the confirmation process for Roberts should continue as scheduled so that the vacancy created by the O'Connor retirement can be filled before the court begins its term.

"We can do this," Cornyn said on "Fox News Sunday."

"If we just do what we prepared to do, and that is go forward with the Roberts hearing as scheduled ... we can get him on the court, if that is the will of the Senate, before it reconvenes," Cornyn said.

But Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., also a member of the Judiciary Committee, called for the hearings to be delayed.

"We can take a few days out to mourn Justice Rehnquist. He was a towering figure in the judiciary," Schumer said on ABC's "This Week." "Judge Roberts was his law clerk, and Judge Rehnquist was Judge Roberts' mentor. I think it makes a good deal of sense for us to take time, catch our breath and take a few days out. "

Sen. Christopher Dodd (news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., said Bush should consider asking O'Connor to rescind her retirement temporarily so the president would have more time to consider how to replace Rehnquist.

"It gives the president a bit more time to think this process through rather than try to jam decisions," Dodd said.

Bush said Rehnquist was respected for his "powerful intellect" and "deep commitment to the rule of law." Bush recalled being emotionally moved when Rehnquist, visibly ailing from thyroid cancer, attended the presidential inauguration to swear him in for his second term.

"Even during a period of illness, Chief Justice Rehnquist stayed on the job to complete the work of his final Supreme Court term," Bush said. "I was honored and I was deeply touched when he came to the Capitol for the swearing-in last January."

Bush added: "He was a man of character and dedication. His departure represents a great loss for the court and for our country."

In front of the Supreme Court just before Bush spoke, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, stood with 15 other worshippers as they prayed for a replacement for Rehnquist who would encourage the acknowledgment of God in the public square.

There have been "so many negative decisions" out of the court, Mahoney said, especially the "tragic taking of life thru abortion."

Thoughts from Bill

Good Day Everyone,
Before I begin, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday weekend. To the victims of Hurricane Katrina- Hang in there, my friends. Better days lie ahead. You will get through this. Your fellow Americans are keeping you in thought, as the citizens will do their part in lifting you up. Just as the events of almost four years ago, most of us will become better individuals.

As you may have seen in a prior post, Chief Justice William Rehnquist succumbed from cancer late Saturday night. I had just gotten home from work, and posted it as soon as I saw it. It could make things interesting as far as the hearings for nominee John Roberts, Jr. begin this week. I hope that the process will be both fair and expedited. In a way, I hope that President Bush makes the annoucement soon as to whom he will nominate to the role of Chief Justice. Personally, I hope that it is either Justice Antonin Scalia or Justice Clarence Thomas. Even if he was to name one of them to Chief Justice, he would still have to nominate somebody to fill the vacancy left by his passing (former Solicitor General Ted Olson, maybe?). The bottom line is that it is entirely up to President Bush, since he is The President, and he can nominate WHOMEVER HE FEELS IS QUALIFIED for the post.

In the precarious and confusing times we are currently facing, this is not the time for posturing by some of the more blowhard, do-nothing politicians. (I will save the rant on those folks for another posting.) Stay tuned to the hearings when and if possible, because it would give the youths of America a good and valuable lesson in Civics and American government.

Again, have a wonderful, extend holiday weekend!